Phoenix had no choice but to bring back Deandre Ayton

On Thursday, restricted free agent C Deandre Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million offer sheet(largest offer sheet in league history) with the Indiana Pacers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. 

However, later in the day, Wojnarowski reported that the Suns would match the offer and retain Ayton.

The fourth-year center cannot be traded before January 15 and can’t be dealt without his permission for one year.

Last season, Ayton averaged a double-double for the fourth straight season, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest. Unfortunately, the Suns, who had the best record in the NBA, fell to the Mavs in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals. In that seventh game against the Mavs, where the Suns were routed 123-90 by Dallas, Ayton scored only five points in 17 minutes of action. 

The 23-year-old was removed in the the third and did not return. Ayton appeared to have some words with Suns coach Monty Williams. After the game, when asked about Ayton, Williams said, “It’s internal.” To this point, Ayton has not addressed the situation. 

The Suns could not afford to let Ayton go without any compensation; that would have been very bad, especially when you consider Chris Paul is 37 and Devin Booker is in his prime, so Phoenix had no choice but to match the offer for Ayton.

At this point, Phoenix seemingly doesn’t have the assets to get Kevin Durant, who requested a trade and reportedly had the Suns on his list of teams he was willing to play for next season, but again, any deal with Ayton can’t be executed until January, so it appears at this point, Phoenix will be running back the team that won a league-high 64 games, which means they will have a championship contending team.

Will it be enough?

It hasn’t been the last two seasons, but they have been close. Hopefully, for them, Ayton continues to ascend, Booker continues to play like a star, and Paul continues to get the job done and stay healthy. However, the world-champion Warriors will be just as good and possibly better with the addition of James Wiseman(missed all of last season), the Clippers will have Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back; the Nuggets will have a healthy Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr to go along with MVP Nikola Jokic; LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the Lakers should be healthy, and Luka Doncic and the Mavs will be tough; it won’t be easy for Phoenix, but getting Ayton back sure helps.

Hawks sign center Frank Kaminsky

The Atlanta Hawks signed free agent center Frank Kaminsky, the team announced Tuesday.

According to ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a one-year deal.

Kaminsky, 29, joins the Hawks from the Phoenix Suns, where he saw action in nine games during the 2021-22 campaign, tallying 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.1 minutes (.545 FG%, .333 3FG%, .900 FT%).

Drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, Kaminsky has appeared in 377 games (49 starts) throughout his career, notching 9.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 21.0 minutes (.429 FG%, .348 3FG%, .743 FT%). He has also seen action in 17 postseason contests (five starts), including 10 appearances in the Suns’ run to the 2021 NBA Finals, averaging 4.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.2 minutes.

The seven-year NBA veteran has suited up for the Charlotte Hornets (2015-19) and Phoenix Suns (2019-22), posting 171 double digit scoring outings. Kaminsky played for Team USA in the 2017 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, netting a team-high 33 points on 12-16 shooting from the floor, including a 9-13 clip from three-point territory, in 20 minutes as a reserve.

Suns add Patrick Mutombo to coaching staff

The Phoenix Suns have added Patrick Mutombo as an assistant coach. In addition, Randy Ayers will transition from assistant coach to coaching advisor on the team’s staff, the Suns announced Tuesday.

According Suns head coach Monty Williams, this move allows Ayers to spend more time with his family.

“Randy has been instrumental to our success the past three seasons and he will continue to play an important role in his new position,” said Williams via press release from team. “This move will allow him to be closer to and spend more time with his family while remaining an invaluable member of our coaching staff. I’m grateful for everything Randy has contributed, on and off the court, since joining me on my first day as a head coach in New Orleans.”

Mutombo, 42, joins Phoenix following two seasons as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors’ G League affiliate, Raptors 905. At the helm of 905, he guided the team to the G League’s best regular season record in back-to-back seasons, totaling a 36-11 total record over his two seasons as a head coach. Mutombo finished as the runner-up for NBA G League Coach of the Year in each of his two seasons with 905.

Prior to taking over as head coach for Raptors 905, Mutombo spent several seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA and G League, including time with the Denver Nuggets, Austin Spurs and Toronto Raptors, where he was a member of the staff during the team’s 2019 NBA Championship season. Before entering the NBA ranks as an assistant coach, Mutombo began his coaching career as an assistant with his alma mater, Metropolitan State University of Denver, in 2011.

Mutombo was a standout player at Metro State and played professionally in Italy, Brazil and Greece, before ending his playing career with the Bakersfield Jam of the G League.

Doncic on Paul: ‘He’s tough, man; he’s a hell of a player’

The Dallas Mavericks have not had an answer for the Phoenix Suns in over two years, and they continued to have no answers for Phoenix on Wednesday night.

After leading 89-86 with over 11 minutes left in the fourth, the Suns went on a 33-9 run to take their largest lead at 122-95 with just under four minutes to go to take Game 2 129-109 at Footprint Center.

Phoenix leads the series 2-0 as the scene shifts to Dallas for Game 3 Friday night.

The Mavs, who have not defeated the Suns since 2019, have lost 11 consecutive games to Phoenix.

Phoenix shot 65% from the field, a new Suns postseason franchise record in a single playoff game. The Suns scored 40 points and shot 84% from the floor in the fourth, and Chris Paul had 14 of his 28 points in the final period.

“Like I always say, just playing the game,” Paul said about the fourth quarter. “Book (Devin Booker) started that third quarter, got us going. You know, I read the game. And other guys on the team made big shots whenever they made a run, just to get us going and get us warmed up into the game. Just feeding off of that.”

Booker, who led the Suns with 30 points, added on Paul: “I remember growing up – I don’t want to take it back to when I was five years old again – but me and my dad watched him play, and he was like, ‘do you see how he makes sure everybody is involved, and then he picks his times when he’s going to take over the game?’, and I’ve just always admired the way he does that. He’s just in control at all times. He’s two, three steps ahead of whatever the other team is doing. And just the leadership, that can never go unnoticed when you’re talking about this man. Just the way he holds people accountable, the will to win. The list keeps going on and on; that’s why he has the nickname (Point God) that he does.”

Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 35 points, and just like everybody else, he was impressed with Paul.

“He’s tough, man; he’s a hell of a player,” Doncic said about Paul. “He’s been in this league a lot of years; he knows what this is about, so he’s very tough. But like I said, we have to do a better job with him.”

Like Game 1, Mavs head coach Jason Kidd says Doncic needs help from others if Dallas wants to compete in this series. 

“He had a great game, but no one else showed,” Kidd said. “We’ve got to get other guys shooting the ball better. We can’t win with just him out there scoring 30 a night. Not at this time of the year, and we’re playing the best team in the league, and so we’ve got to get other guys going.”

The Suns look like the team that won 64 games in the regular season right now, and that team was tough to beat in the regular season, and that team will be tough to beat for the Mavericks. The series is not over, but the Mavs have to find a way to turn things around in Dallas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suns’ Paul on win over Pelicans: ‘We knew it was going to be by committee’

If he did it before, he could do it again, and the “Point God” continued his fourth-quarter greatness in the Suns’ first-round series against the Pelicans.

As he did in Game 1, Paul scored 19 points of his 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Suns, who were without Devin Booker(hamstring), defeated the Pelicans 114-111 at Smoothie King Center to take a 2-1 series lead.

Paul finished with 28 points, four rebounds, 14 assists, and zero turnovers. Deandre Ayton added a career-high 28 points to go along with 17 rebounds. Ayton scored 28 points in three quarters, but he was scoreless in the fourth.

However, Paul brought it home.

“DA kept us in this game in order to bring it home down the stretch,” Paul said after the win.

In Game 1, Paul had 19 of his 30 points in the fourth. They needed his greatness in Game 1, and without Booker, they needed it even more in Game 3.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Paul is the second player to score 19-plus points in the fourth quarter twice in a single series over the last 25 postseasons. In addition, according to Stathead, Paul became the first player since 1984 to have 28-plus points and 14-plus assists without a turnover.

“He(Paul) reads a play, and the defense will switch, and he’s always analyzing,” JaVale McGee, who also came up big and added 15 points, said. “He’s listening to calls that other players are calling.”

Phoenix had five players in double figures, so they won it as a team.

“We knew it was going to be by committee,” Paul said. “When you come into this arena, we knew it would be tough, but everybody just pitched in tonight.”

At this point, according to reports, Booker could be out 2-3 weeks, so Phoenix needs to get by the Pelicans as soon as possible, but as Paul said, the Suns have to do it by committee. 

Game 4 is Sunday night in New Orleans.

NBA announces schedule for first two days of playoffs

On Sunday night, the NBA announced the schedule for Game 1s of the playoffs on April 16 and 17.

Schedule below:

Saturday, April 16, 2022

AWAY

HOME

GM

ET

TV/R

Utah

Dallas

1

1:00PMET

ESPN

West #7

Memphis

1

3:30PMET

ESPN

Toronto

Philadelphia

1

6:00PMET

ESPN

Denver

Golden State

1

8:30PMET

ABC/R

Sunday, April 17, 2022

 

AWAY

HOME

GM

ET

TV/R

East #7

Boston

1

TBD

TBD

East #8

Miami

1

TBD

TBD

Chicago

Milwaukee

1

TBD

TBD

West #8

Phoenix

1

TBD

TBD

Suns sign C Bismack Biyombo to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed free agent center Bismack Biyombo to a 10-day contract, the team announced Saturday.

Currently, Phoenix is without Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, Abdel Nader, and JaVale McGee due to health and safety protocols.

Biyombo (6-8, 255 pounds) is a 10-year NBA veteran who appeared in 66 games (36 starts) with the Charlotte Hornets last season, averaging 5.0 points on 58.7% shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, and 20.4 minutes. 

The 29-year-old was originally the seventh overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft by Sacramento before being traded to Charlotte on draft night. 

Phoenix continues their three-game road trip Sunday against the Hornets.

 

 

Suns’ Booker on 10k points: ‘This one means a lot’

The Suns(27-7) ended their four-game homestand with a victory as they knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder(12-22) 115-97 to snap their two game losing streak Wednesday night at Footprint Center.

Phoenix took an 85-81 lead into the fourth. With just under ten minutes left, Phoenix led 92-87, and they would go on a 16-6 run to go up by 15 and take complete control of the game.

Devin Booker tied a season-high with 38 points(23 in the first half), including six threes to go along with seven rebounds, five assists, and two block shots. JaVale McGee added 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Cameron Payne chipped in with 16 points and seven assists off the bench. 

Booker also made a little history in the first quarter. He became the seventh youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,ooo points(25 years, 60 days today), trailing only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tracy McGrady, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Honestly, this one means a lot,” Booker said. “I think 10k is better than five, six, seven(thousand). I feel like it’s a real milestone that I hit. If (Jeff) Hornacek(former coach) would have put me in a little more, I should be at 12(thousand) right now. I’m messing around…

“I got to be thrown into the fire, and even my vets, my teammates, just passing the ball to an 18-year-old. That’s not easy to do; that’s not common in the NBA.”

Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, who coached his second game in place of Williams, added this about Booker: “Every shot he shoots, he thinks it’s going in, and he’s still able to do it within the confines of the team. He made some huge shots tonight, and to be able make some big shots and hit that milestone; it’s just what he does.”

As a 19-year-old rookie, Booker averaged 13.8 points per game. Since then, Booker has averaged over 20 points in every season, including a career-best tying 26.6 per contest in 2020. 

In 27 games this season, the two-time All-Star is averaging 23.7 points and has put up 30 or more points in three out of the last four games.

Suns’ Shamet: ‘We’re deep for sure’

On Thursday night, the Phoenix Suns routed the Washington Wizards 118-98 at Footprint Center.

With the win, the Suns, who had eight players in double figures, are 23-5 on the season, the team’s best start to a season through the first 28 games since the 2004-05 season. 

Chris Paul, the only man with 20,000 points and 10,000 assists in NBA history, leads the NBA in assists per game(10.1). According to JaVale McGee, who had a team-high 17 points in 16 minutes against Washington, Paul, who had a team-high six assists Thursday, can see any and everything on the court.

“He’s a mind; he’s like a mega-mind when it comes to basketball,” McGee explained about Paul. “And the fact that he’s a point guard who controls the ball the whole game is even better. He sees things before they happen; he sees things that happened four plays ago that he can tell you about. His mind is just really basketball-oriented, and he knows where guys are supposed to be, and he knows where to put the ball. And when you have a point guard like that as your starting point guard, the backup point guard looks up to him and takes nuances from him, and it just trickles down.”

Phoenix is still getting it done without their leading scorer, Devin Booker, who missed the last seven games with a hamstring injury. That includes Landry Shamet, who started his seventh straight game for Booker and added 16 points, including four threes against Washington. 

McGee says the Suns have that “next-man mindset.”

“I think I’ve said this before; we have that next-man mindset,” McGee said. “So, (Landry) Shamet has been doing a great job stepping into that role, and when he goes back to the bench, he is still going to be a top-performing player. I don’t think it’s anything that we’ve done different, we just play our ball. It’s always been team basketball; Book (Devin Booker) just; weapons to score a lot of points around our team basketball. As a whole, we’re a good team at getting everybody the ball.”

Shamet added: “We’re deep for sure. I think more than anything is we play together; we trust each other, play the right way, and a way that enables us to have those numbers and multiple guys in double figures. Every night it could be somebody different in the spot. We have a lot of interchangeable pieces, guys who are comfortable in filling in different roles.”

Phoenix gets back at it on Sunday night against the visiting Hornets.

Suns’ McGee: If I was in Phoenix last year, we probably would have won a championship

Phoenix, you have a winner in town. Backup center JaVale McGee is a winner. He has been a part of three of the last five NBA Finals’ winning teams and got his last title in 2020 with the Lakers.

In addition, he won a Gold Medal last summer in Tokyo. The three-time champion signed with last year’s Western Conference champions, the Phoenix Suns, in the offseason.

On Friday, McGee started for Suns center Deandre Ayton(illness) against the Boston Celtics, and he played well. McGee had his fourth double-double of the season, with a season and team-high 21 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. This was McGee’s 10th career game of 20-plus points and 15-plus rebounds.

Ultimately, the Suns(21-4) would rout the visiting Celtics(13-14) 111-90.

In 25 games, McGee averages 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds off the bench.

Last season, Phoenix had Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky as Ayton’s backup, but it’s clear after 25 games that McGee is an upgrade, and according to McGee, if he were in Phoenix last season, the Suns would have won a championship.

“I definitely bring championship experience,’ McGee said post-game. “I’ve been there and won it. I’m undefeated in the Finals. It’s just a challenge through the whole season to stay locked in, and I try to bring that energy every game, every practice. Every day they see me, I try to bring that great energy to the guys. Some guys have a bad history of being a cancer to a team, or they didn’t play well this game, or they didn’t play a lot this game, and that’ll change their whole mood. I’m not that guy. I’m the same way. If you ask any of my teammates, any of the coaching staff, of any team I played for too. For example, if you asked guys last year in Denver, I didn’t even play, but I was still being that guy, that energy guy, even though I didn’t play. So, it’s just what I bring to teams when I come. Yeah, I feel like if I was here(Phoenix) last year and I got traded here instead of Denver, we probably would have won.”

What McGee is saying is not far-fetched. In fact, the Suns may have won last year if McGee was on the roster. The guy just does winning things and makes winning plays. 

In Game 1 of the Finals, Phoenix lost Saric to an ACL injury, which impacted the depth in the frontcourt. Also, the Suns were up 2-0 in the Finals against the Bucks, and maybe a guy like McGee, who has Finals’ experience, could have helped Phoenix get it done. 

Phoenix is tied with the Warriors for the best record in basketball right now, and it appears that they will have a great shot to get back to the NBA Finals, so we’ll put McGee’s beliefs to the test this season. 

Will he be the difference? We’ll find out in June.

Notes:

-The Suns limited the Celtics to just four three-point field goals on 26 attempts(15.4%), the four threes and 15.4% were both season lows by a Suns’ opponent.

Up two (32-30) with 8:16 remaining in the first half, the Suns closed out the second quarter on a 25-9 run to take an 18-point, 57-39 lead into the halftime break. Phoenix’s lead never dwindled below double figures the rest of the game. 

Watch below as McGee talks win over Celtics, and more: